The Devil Wears Prada
With Roots Above and Branches Below


3.5
great

Review

by wyankeif1337 USER (56 Reviews)
October 4th, 2010 | 44 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is best thought of as the metalcore equivalent of candy: there is absolutely no substance or originality to speak of, but hell, is it delicious.

I've recently been thinking about a slightly abstract concept of mine. It involves the difference between liking and enjoying an album. You see, I think that there is a big divide between the two. I like an album when I see that it's a good, original piece of music that involves skill and impressive musicianship. I enjoy it when it's an album that I have a truly fun time listening to. The two are not mutually exclusive: there is a plethora of albums that I both like and enjoy. However, there remains those that only fit one category. For example, I like Tool's Lateralus, but I do not enjoy it, because while it is a considerably complex piece of music, the songs are long and pretentious, and it's not at all fun for me to listen to. With Roots Above and Branches Below, by much maligned metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada, is an album that I do not particularly "like," but one that I greatly enjoy.

I don't "like" the album for the same reasons that are given every time someone bashes the band. It is some of the most unoriginal and formulaic metalcore you will ever hear in your entire life, repeating the same epic synth and breakdown infested structure that you've undoubtedly heard hundred of times. The singing/screaming vocal formula, whilst involving a couple of reasonably good vocalists, is the exact same thing that infests most of the metalcore scene, and can grow to be laughably cheesy at times. I could go on, but I would just be repeating the same argument that is almost as formulaic as the metalcore that it's attempting to demonize.

So why in the hell would anyone enjoy this album? Well, because while it is remarkably cheesy and formulaic, it remains one of the easiest and most fun listening experiences you'll ever get out of a metalcore band. The breakdowns are a good example of this idea. While everyone loves to malign breakdowns, there is not a single person I've ever met who does not secretly enjoy a few good chugtastic breakdowns every now and then. TDWP excessively uses these breakdowns, but most of the breakdowns happen to be very well-done, and are sure to set off involuntary foot-tapping and/or head-bobbing in even the most elite metalhead. These sections are often riddled with cheesy synthesizer lines, but the supreme cheesiness here is offset by the fact that they synths do, in fact sound slightly "epic," thereby meeting their intended purpose. The aforementioned sing/scream vocals, while being annoying if listened to in excess, are, in fact, fairly good. The cleans in particular are actually quite beautiful, with the soft section in Danger: Wildman being a good representation of how this singing is put to good use throughout the album.

These three combined factors, along with numerous smaller ones, make this album, in all likelihood, not something you will "like," but something that you will sure as hell "enjoy." The best parts of the album are showcased in the album highlight Assistant to the Regional Manager, a song that perfectly blends breakdowns, synths, and catchy-as-hell vocal dynamics to the point of being possibly the most addicting song you've heard all month (also, the Office reference doesn't hurt either). One last factor to take into consideration is that this band does not at all take themselves seriously. Instead of acting like their music is the greatest thing since sliced bread like some other core bands do (I'm looking at you, Acacia Strain and Parkway Drive), they seem to make their music for the fun of it. They don't expect anyone to take them seriously, as is referenced by the ridiculous song titles: they are just making music because they enjoy doing it. The same goes for any potential listeners. This album is not meant to be taken seriously in the slightest. It is meant as a quick, fun metalcore listen and not as a technical, original piece of music. As soon as you truly accept that fact, you will have the capability to truly enjoy what this album has to offer.

Album Highlights
Assistant to the Regional Manager
Danger: Wildman
Gimme Half




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user ratings (1796)
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • nazcapilot (3.5)
    Although, With Roots Above and Branches Below doesn't reinvent the wheel, it is still ...

    TheGreatQ (1.5)
    With Monotony Above and Mediocrity Below...

    peterbraa (3.5)
    The Devil Wears Prada's new release. Overall this album is worth a listen to with some gre...

    Curanza (5)
    The Album shows refinement and advancement from Plagues. The guitar work is tighter, and d...

  • metalheadrunner (2.5)
    Why did I use to praise this album?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
wyankeif1337
October 4th 2010


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I was bothered by the fact that there wasn't a single remotely well-written positive review for this album. However, I'm truly sorry if this isn't much better. Suggestions are appreciated.

EuphoricDysphoria81
October 4th 2010


1152 Comments


It doesn't deserve a remotely well-written positive review. DUH!

fr33convict
October 4th 2010


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i neg'd and then pos'd.

wyankeif1337
October 4th 2010


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Didn't know you could do that.

wyankeif1337
October 4th 2010


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, and sorry if the opening paragraph is confusing.

fr33convict
October 4th 2010


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

If you pos after you neg it just changes it to a pos. I didn't like the intro much but the rest was good.

PinkBlackberry
October 4th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty fantastic review, for a pretty meh CD. I've always had a soft spot for these guys but this CD

was far too underwhelming for me, I wish it had...more. Anyway, have a pos.



edit: Just a nit picky thing, in the closing paragraph you use a ( cough cough ) thing, my advice

would be to take that out and make it more of an example, i.e (eg. Parkway Drive and the Acacia strain

) it's still funny, but more dry, less informal.



reason I say that, is a lot of people on this site will see that and either a) Instantly neg, or b)

treat this as a joke review..because lets face it, this is the interwebz, and there a lot of idiots.

Just an idea, your review

climactic
October 4th 2010


22514 Comments


eeeeeewwwwww

PinkBlackberry
October 4th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

WILLY!, I love you.



the end.

Waior
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2010


11682 Comments


i was coming here to slag you for smiting my review but this is way better than the rubbish i posted so cheers mate

climactic
October 4th 2010


22514 Comments


I love you too but this band makes me want to

[img]http://pimpinandcrimpin.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/throw-up1.jpg[/img]



fr33convict
October 4th 2010


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Eeeeeewwwwwww

Waior
Contributing Reviewer
October 4th 2010


11682 Comments


CHUNDER

EVERYWHERE

PinkBlackberry
October 4th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hahahahahaha, that is quite possibly the grossest thing I have witnessed on this site.



I think this CD has..someeee good songs, but the only one I can really think of right now is Assistant to the regional manager...

fr33convict
October 4th 2010


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Why give it a 3.5 then?

climactic
October 4th 2010


22514 Comments


Yeah lol the way you describe it, it sounds like a 2.

TheFantasticDangler
October 4th 2010


2050 Comments


good review

PinkBlackberry
October 4th 2010


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not sure anymore. I think when I rated it, I really liked it. I haven't listened to it in for

ever, I should probably get on that.



oh yeah I liked sassafrass and I hate buffering. = D

bloc
October 4th 2010


61011 Comments


Zombie rapes this

Digging: Cut Copy - I Thought Of Numbers

Obfuscation24
October 4th 2010


3939 Comments


TDWP is the epitome of average



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